New York Mets minor-league pitcher Yusaku Iriki has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, becoming the first player exposed to the harsher penalties Major League Baseball instituted this offseason, a source told Yahoo! Sports Friday.
Iriki, who signed a one-year, $750,000 deal this offseason, will serve the longest steroid-related major-league suspension. It stems from testing done while he was with the Mets in spring training.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Iriki, currently pitching for Triple-A Norfolk, becomes the first Japanese player suspended for a positive steroid test at the major-league level and the 13th since baseball began doling out suspensions last season.
Ten players have been suspended under minor-league testing this season.
Iriki, who was taken off the Mets' 40-man roster on April 18, remained in the organization and has pitched well. He is 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in 21 2/3 innings.
The right-hander was considered a possible replacement if the injured Brian Bannister can't pitch for the Mets, who are in first place in the National League East.